Introduction: There are few studies on the use of human amniotic membrane and autologous veins as conduits for reconstructing peripheral nerve defects. It is not known if the presence of a local axial blood supply may enhance the result obtained with these options. The aim of this paper was to compare the efficacy of bridging a 10 mm long nerve defect of the sciatic nerve of the rat with these options compared to the traditional nerve autograft, in the presence of a nearby axial blood supply. Material and Methods: Forty five female Wistar rats were submitted to excision of a 10 mm segment of the right sciatic nerve preserving the epineural vascular plexus. The rats were then randomly allocated to reconstruction of the nerve defect with one of the following: autograft from the excised segment (Group A; n=15); autologous graft from the external jugular vein (Group B; n=15); conduit built from human amniotic membrane (Group C; n=15). Rats were assessed functionally (walking track analysis; electroneurography and ankle flexion strength) and structurally (histological and morphometrical assessments; gastrocnemius and soleus muscle weight recovery; neuronal retrograde marking with True Blue) at 4, 8 and 12 weeks. Results: The average results obtained for the evaluated parameters did not show significant differences, apart from a greater recovery of muscle mass in the Group C relatively to Group A at 12 weeks. The reconstructed nerves showed a normal architecture and blood supply. The amniotic membrane was well tolerated as a nerve conduit, persisting around the growing nerve until the 12th week. Conclusion: In the presence of an axial blood supply, human amniotic membrane and autologous veins are at least as effective as autografts for bridging 10 mm nerve defects in the rat.
|Journal||ARCHIVES OF ANATOMY|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2014|